Mentorship November 24, 2016
As a powerful woman, rising in the ranks doesn’t happen unscathed. No matter which industry she controls, enemies and naysayers will crawl from the shadows to find ways of hurting or shaming her reputation. But every woman needs a friend she can trust with her problems. Thirty-six percent of confider-confidante relationships are female friends and while it might be easier to put your fate in the hands of a church or therapist, it turns out 63 percent of adults would rather confide in a non-professional.
This is where it gets murky, however. When you’re a high-profile figure, who do you trust? Are you a Monica Lewinsky to Linda Tripp or a Betsy Bloomingdale to Nancy Reagan? How can you assure that a friend is a true friend and not a wolf in sheep’s clothing?
If you’re a powerful woman on the rise, ENTITY recommends you consider these questions when seeking a sister soulmate.
Is her sole purpose to gain access to something you possess? Does she only seem present when a situation benefits her? If yes, then this person may be a risky ally. Choose a confidante who is after nothing but your friendship – that is the kind of person you can trust.
A confidante. keeps a secret no matter how juicy. A source of comfort for powerful people is knowing that there is someone in their life they can trust no matter what happens. Let something small slip out and see if she runs with it. If she can’t keep even the smallest secret, then she is not someone to be trusted. No matter the nature of the information, you should feel 100 percent assured that it is safe in her hands.
Unfortunately, this is what Monica Lewinsky thought when she confided in Linda Tripp about her relationship with President Clinton. She would later face the consequences when Linda Tripp revealed illegally recorded tapes of Lewinsky’s conversations. Tripp defended her actions, stating that she was only protecting herself and that it was a matter of national security. Lewinsky’s last words during her grand jury testimony reverberated the echoes of every betrayed woman, “I hate Linda Tripp.”
READ MORE: Why Gossip is Passé and How to Stop
As much as we like to hear compliments, constructive criticism is important for our growth. You need someone to tell it like it is, not someone who sugarcoats every mistake. When you ask for an honest opinion, can she set aside the emotional connection and speak the truth, even if it isn’t what you want to hear?
An objective advisor is someone who cares deeply for you and is willing to sacrifice her image of a sweet sycophant for your mental and spiritual growth. According to Psychology Today, honesty is one of the necessary traits for a “healthy and lasting friendship.”
Is she in a good situation at home – with family, friends and romantic relationships? If her friendship with you is driven by insecurity, then you may just be a vessel whereby she can increase her self-esteem. Examine past relationships and why they failed to ensure that a pattern of behavior can be avoided.
READ MORE: Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Life Advice for Women
If you respect her as a person, then you’ll respect what she has to say. Is she worldly-wise? Can she speak on a wide variety of topics? Someone experienced who has a great intellect will cut the naiveté and be smart about what he or she advises.
Are conversations more about her? Both of you should be inquisitive about each other’s lives and have mutual appreciation for the differences. Don’t be friends with a “taker,” someone who regularly asks for favors but never offers to lend a helping hand.
Pay close attention to her presence. Is it a friendship of convenience or do you truly look forward to connecting one-on-one? If it would benefit her to ditch, but she continues to stick by your side, then that’s a friend indeed. Lopsided relationships are a result of one member fitting into the category of “toxic.” Consult this list of 13 toxic people by Hey Sigmund to see if your potential confidante fits into any of these categories.
A woman of power who has many fans, followers and idolizers can sometimes find it hard to discern who she can trust. The traitorous individuals are masked with painted smiles and hopeful eyes, vying for your clout, connections and benefits. Let’s say you have come this far to have a healthy and honest relationship but you fear the fate of a betrayed woman. If she betrays you, will she, too, face reputation repercussions? If so, she will be further incentivized to have your friendship stand the test of time.
When choosing a female confidante, it has to be a relationship fulfilling for both of you. It’s not just about professionalism and secret-keeping; it’s about having rapport, establishing a bulletproof bond and having a fantastic time together. You can work together, travel together, play together, live together, win together … and lose together. Even better? These lifelong friendships just get more nuanced, textured and meaningful with time.
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